Torquay United’s new-look youth development programme is up and running - a fortnight before the Gulls’ senior players returning for pre-season training.

And manager Gary Johnson says he’s encouraged by the quality of the young players on the scheme and the coaches guiding them.

Johnson and assistant manager Aaron Downes both watched the first training sessions at South Devon College this week.

“First of all, it was great to see how excited the boys were to be together and playing again,” said Johnson.

“A lot of work has gone into improving the scheme over the last few months.

“It’s a very good programme now, with some good players and some good coaches, who have been loyal to us, in all the age-groups.”

With the National League not starting their 2020-2021 season until October 3, United’s senior players do not report back for work until August 24.

Initially, they will have to work in small groups of five, and be regularly tested, before being allowed to start training as a squad of the 20 players whom Johnson has so far signed up.